Thursday, 3 November 2011

Nearly Nicked from Nick: Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup

Lou and I returned from France to find that Mr Lovelygrey had been impulse buying.  Not those electronic gadgets so beloved of males but, weirdly enough vegetables bought at knock down prices from the Coop.  Because the 'head of the household' been living alone for a week, his diet had veered towards convenience fare even though he'd been stuffing the fridge full of greenery.  I have some sympathy here.  When I haven't had to cook for others I've been known to live on a  decidedly unhealthy diet of taramasalata and ready salted Square crisps.

So my challenge this week is to clear out the cold zone.  I turned to Nick Nairn, a TV chef from the colder climes of Scotland for inspiration.   His website has a lovely recipe for Cauliflower and Mulled Cheddar soup. I've followed this to the letter previously with some success but a bit of creativity was needed as we did not have half the ingredients called for.  The cauliflower in the fridge was much weedier than the large specimen called for. There was  no cream or the parsley needed to infuse an oil to drizzle over the final product. And as for the 'cheddar' with a dubious Scottish provenance (surely it should be from Somerset?) well forget it!

Whilst we'd been away, bread making had also  been put on hold and some shop brought sliced white had sneaked into Lovelygrey Villas, no doubt to use in the sandwich toaster. To get rid of it, I cut a couple of slices into crouton-y cubes and fried them in olive oil with crushed garlic and  a bit of smoked streaky bacon. This rustic garnish replaced the hoity toity parsley oil and pleased my meat loving neanderthal boys no end.

Meanwhile, I'd chopped an onion and fried it in a  melted knob of butter.  Once it was softened I added that puny cauli together with a large piece of broccoli which I'd finely chopped according to Mr Nairn's instructions.  This concoction was then simmered in a pint and a half of water for about thirty minutes and then blitzed  until smooth with the hand blender.  To make up for the  lack of cream, I added much more grated vintage 'blow your head off' cheddar than the original fifty grammes that the recipe recommended.   Finally the soup was  seasoned to taste  with sea salt, loads of ground pepper, and the pinches of cayenne pepper and Colman's mustard powder beloved of my 1970s domestic science teacher, Miss Blampied.   I haven't retained much that is useful in my daily life from my school days but  because of her I do know how to bring out the flavour of cooked cheese!


  1. Looks and sounds yummy! As I'm about to have a wisdom tooth out, I may even make it - I think I'll be drinking lots of soup over the next few days!

  2. ummm looks & sounds wonderful. Our co-op is doing a really good deal on extra strong cheddar at the moment which I'm taking full advantage of !

    We had such elderly domestic science & needlework teachers at our school. When they changed the rules I opted for woodwork & metalwork !

  3. No chance of such change in a girl's grammar school in the 1970s. Woodwork and metalwork were considered unladylike! x